Saturday morning in Brooklyn Park, a collection of educators, students and community leaders gathered for the third annual forum on race. "It's usually the elephant in the room, and it's difficult sometimes for us to enter into those conversations," said Wokie Freeman, Brooklyn Park's assistant city manager. In a city as diverse as Brooklyn Park, those who made their way to this forum say it's an important conversation to have. "We all have our own racial identity, and to talk to each other about that is important, because we think that is a positive part of the fabric of our community," said Brian Siverson-Hall, executive director of community engagement for the Osseo School District. On this Saturday morning, people who might not interact with each other on a daily basis were brought together to share their beliefs and concerns. "Race is something that we all deal with, and we deal with it in every aspect of our lives," said John Warren of the Northwest Suburban Integration School District, one of the speakers at the event. Warren added, "One of the things I talked about when I spoke was talking to your neighbor instead of calling the police on your neighbor - of going across the street and saying, 'Hello, my name is, how are you?'" Getting to know your neighbor was one of the key messages at this forum. It's a task that seems simple in real life, but not always practiced. "It's important for various racial groups to get together and have conversations in order to build community," said Siverson-Hall. This gathering may not solve all the issues surrounding race relations, but the hope is that by having the conversation, it can help teach people how to better understand one another. "We get along, but we have to know each other in order to truly get along, and not everybody is gonna get along, but at least let's try," Warren said. Delane Cleveland, reporting http://twelve.tv http://www.facebook.com/12localnews http://twitter.com/12sports http://twitter.com/12localnews
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